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The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card Review

Scotiabank Gold American Express CardThe Scotiabank Gold American Express card offers Canada’s richest rewards rate of 4% and ushers in a new era of flexible travel redemption programs into the Canadian marketplace.

With a limited time $99 first year annual fee waiver and a 25,000 point sign-up bonus worth $250 (offer expires July 31, 2017)  this is a great time to try the card out risk free.

The Scotiabank Gold Amex card offers one of Canada’s highest earn rates of 4% on gas, grocery, dining and entertainment spend and 1% everywhere else. No other credit card in Canada offers 4% in that many categories. It’s also one of Canada’s most flexible travel cards, offering the flexibility to redeem your cash equivalent points for ANY travel expense! It also has one of the country’s best travel insurance programs.

Get the card to get your limited time $250 welcome bonus offer and first year annual fee waiver. With no annual fee Scotia is paying you $250 to give the card a try – with such good value, we say it’s worth a shot.

Apply Now!

Earning Points on Scotiabank Gold

The sign-up bonus of 25,000 points, with no annual fee in the first year is extremely competitive. 25,000 points, is worth $250. The only thing you’ll have to do is spend $750 in the first 3 months. If you’re spending $250 a month anyways (think gas & groceries alone), it’s a great deal.

The value proposition on the card is simple and extremely generous, you earn 4% on all gas, grocery, dining and entertainment purchases, up to $50,000 per year, after which you’ll earn 1%. You’ll also earn 1% on purchases in all other categories. The 4% value is extremely rich.

While some cash back cards offer 4% cash back, they only do it for gas and grocery purchases. The Scotiabank Gold card does it for gas, grocery, dining and entertainment purchases making it standout from the pack.

Consider the average Canadian spends $5,588 a year on groceries, $2,207 on restaurants, $3,600 a year on gas, and let’s throw in an additional $8,000 on other credit card spend. Based on that spend profile you’ll earn the equivalent of $535 per year in rewards – robust.

Redeeming Points With Scotiabank Gold

One of the most innovative features of the Scotiabank Gold American Express card is that it allows you to book your travel first, then redeem your points to cover your travel costs after, as follows:

  1. Book any flight, hotel, car, cruise, train or package, on your credit card
  2. Wait for your travel purchases to appear on your credit card statement
  3. Then apply your points to your travel expenses on your credit card (100 points = $1)

This allows you to book on any airline, hotel, cruise or vacation package without any restrictions. No blackout dates, seat restrictions, or extra points for high season. You can also pay for all taxes and fees with your points!

Comparing Value Per $1 Spent On Your Credit Card

As we’ve said before, the earn rate on the Scotiabank Gold American Express card is the highest of any card in Canada.

We’ve done some math to verify our assessment. Each point is worth 1 cent. As a result, you’re getting 4% back on gas, grocery, restaurant and entertainment spend and 1% everywhere else. That compares very favorably to the RBC Avion, CIBC Aventura, BMO World Elite or CapOne Aspire. By comparison, the BMO World Elite and CapOne Aspire offer 2% on all spend. You can see just how rich a 4% earn rate is when compared to other cards.

If you have a lot of spend outside of gas, grocery, restaurants and entertainment, you might want to consider something that gives more bang for your buck than the Scotia Amex Gold card does, which still gives a respectable 1% on all other purchases.

To see other alternatives, you can use our credit card comparison tool to find the best credit card for you, which has already converted points to their dollar value and allows you to enter your spend by category to see how much each card will earn you.

Extra’s

Not to be outdone, Scotia has embedded a host of travel related benefits that we believe ranks it as one of the top 5 cards in Canada for insurance coverage. In fact the total package of embedded benefits can easily be worth over $1,000 per year if your travel:

  • Travel Emergency Medical Insurance –  As the primary cardmember, you, your spouse and accompanying dependent children are each automatically covered for up to $1 million in emergency medical coverage for up to 25 consecutive days out of province.
  • Trip Interruption & Cancellation Insurance
  • Flight Delay
  • Delayed & Lost Luggage Insurance
  • Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance
  • Rental Car Collision / Loss Damage Insurance
  • Hotel / Motel Burglary Insurance
  • Purchase Security & Extended Warranty Insurance – personal items purchased on your credit card are insured against theft, loss or damage for their first 90 days after purchase!
  • Price Protection Service – Use your card to buy a new item that is offered for sale at a lower price within 60 days of purchase, the Price Protection Service, will pay you the difference up to $100.

Worth it?

In our view, Scotia’s current limited time first year annual fee waiver with a $250 sign-up bonus offer makes it one of the top offers in the current Canadian marketplace. It’s also the best offer Scotia makes available for the card all year.

Usually the Scotia Amex Gold has a $150 sign-up bonus with a $99 annual fee to start – so this promotion is $200 richer than its standard welcome bonus offer. Also, the 4% earn rate on gas, grocery, restaurant and entertainment is unmatched in Canada. Because you can apply your earnings to ANY travel expense on your credit card statement, you can start redeeming your welcome bonus right away!

Apply Now!

 

56 comments

  1. I signed up for this card in January, and was approved. However due to how long it took to complete the paperwork I did not receive and activate the card until the beginning of April. Will I still be eligible for the bonus points if I spend $750 in 3 months? Or did the 3 months begin when I was approved?

    • Hi Taylor!

      Good question, and congratulations on getting approved for the Scotiabank Gold Amex card. It’s a great card that will serve you well, as will the bonus!

      A bit about the bonus: it begins once you have activated the card. You will be eligible for the bonus when you spend at least $750 within three months from when you activated the card. Because you recently activated it in early April, you now have a little under three months to earn the bonus, which is more than enough time. Good luck and enjoy!

      We hope this helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  2. The fine print says bonus applies to new accounts only…I have had this card in the past and was wondering if I would be considered a new account if I apply for a new one…I cancelled the previous one a couple of months ago..?

    Also I saw somewhere where you told someone to wait 2 months between applications for new credit cards…can you explain the reason for that…? Maybe something to do with my credit score?

    BTW…I love this site…keep up the excellent work.

    • Hey Walter!

      Thanks for your questions and your patience – we’re sorry you waited to hear back from us and are super glad you’re enjoying the site 🙂

      We also have some good news for you: regardless of the fact that you had this card in the past, “”new customer”” is defined by Scotiabank as anyone who is newly applying for the card, so you are entitled to the bonus.

      That said, depending on when you cancelled the card, you may want to wait before applying for the Scotiabank Gold Amex. We do indeed recommend waiting 2 months before repeat applications, and this is simply to protect your credit score against unnecessary dings.

      Good luck!

      GreedyRates Staff

  3. Does the 4% in these categories apply to purchases made abroad (ex. in the US)? How about for the Amex Gold?

    • Hey Gibby! We’re glad you’re asking these awesome questions.

      When using the Scotiabank Gold American Express for purchases abroad, as long as you’re buying gas, groceries, food or entertainment, the 4% cash back applies (for the Amex Gold as well). The points that you acquire can be used on your travels in a number of ways – for example, you can use them to pay off the same purchases when you return. Do be aware, however, that there is a 2.50% foreign transaction fee applied to purchases made abroad with this card, though for many purchases the 4% cash back more than covers it.

      We hope this helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  4. Is there a list of accepted travel merchants for redemption? For example, if I book travel through a Groupon Getaways or Air BnB will these still qualify to redeem my points? Thanks – great site!

    • Hi Stephanie! Thanks for the great question.

      In order to redeem your points for travel, you can book your trip and hotel through Scotiabank’s Scotia Rewards’ travel service, which offers you a full-service travel agency and can guarantee the best price on airfare.

      Hopefully this answers your question!

      GreedyRates Staff

  5. Is there restrictions to what grocery stores , gas stations , dining and entertainment? If so can u tell what places there restricted to? Also is the medical travel insurance cover out of country or just out of province?

    • Hi Jordon,

      There are no restrictions per se, however, Scotia determines if a store falls into one of those merchant categories based on the SIC merchant code provided by American Express. In most cases it should be obvious (if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and smells like a duck…). However remember Walmart may not be considered a grocery store.

      The medical travel insurance is for out of province AND out of country.

      Enjoy!

      GreedyRates Staff

  6. Wait. Each point is only worth a penny? Tomorrow I have a $4500 purchase at 1% points. Meaning 45 points. So I’m only getting 45 cents? I would have thought this would be $45 back in travel points?

  7. Hi there! Awesome articles.

    I just finished reading your post on Best Travel Credit Card Rankings in Canada for 2017, which had me convinced that the Amex Gold Rewards Card would be best for me. (I currently have a CIBC Aeroplan card).
    However now that I’ve seen this Scotia Gold Amex I’m not sure. What is the main difference/advantage between the two? From what I can see now they both offer a 25k sign up bonus and no annual fee first year. Is point accumulation/redemption easier on one than the other? I like the 4% earn rate but I think a lot of my spending might fall outside of the 4% categories.

    Thank you!!

    • Hi Catherine,

      Right now the differences are as follows:

      1. Scotia Amex Gold offers more rewards on spend at 4% on gas, groceries, restaurants and entertainment
      2. Amex Gold Rewards offers more rewards on spend at 2% on pharmacy and travel
      3. Scotia Amex Gold offers Trip cancellation insurance
      4. Amex Gold Rewards allows you to transfer your points to Aeroplan and Avios

      Those are the main advantages of each card.

      Hope that helps!

      GreedyRates Staff

  8. How does this card compare to the RBC Visa Infinite Avion, if my annual fee for the Avion is waived? I’m likely to use my points to pay for my trip, after I’ve purchased it through a third party website.

    • Hi Scott,

      Removing the annual fee from both cards, we’d still say the Scotia Gold Amex card is the richer and more flexible of the two:

      1. Scotia Amex Gold currently offers $250 welcome bonus, which is more valuable than Avion’s 15,000 miles
      2. Scotia Amex Gold offers 4% rewards rate on gas, grocery, restaurant and entertainment spend, much better than Avion’s earn rate (but you have to spend in those categories, otherwise Avion wins).
      3. Scotia Amex Gold allows you to redeem the dollar value of your points for any travel expense on your credit card statement. Avion does as well, but they discount your points when doing say, making it more expensive than if you redeem them as travel points.

      Hope that helps!

      GreedyRates Staff

  9. How can I set up this card to my Aeroplan account to get the points directly?I just received the card.

    • Hi Ling,

      I think you may be confusing the Scotiabank Gold American Express card with the Amex Gold Rewards card. None of Scotia’s cards have any relationship with Aeroplan. The Amex Gold Rewards Card allows you to convert your Amex points 1:1 to Aeroplan miles, with no additional fee. To convert your points to Aeroplan miles simply transfer the points online from your Amex account or call Amex at your convenience and they will do it for you over the phone.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  10. I cancelled my American Express Gold card in November, if I apply for the Scotiabank one, I assume I will still be entitled to the welcome bonus of 20,000 points as they have no relationship with each other?

    • Hi Kristina,

      That is correct. There is no relationship between the two. American Express is the issuer of the Amex Gold Rewards card, and Scotia is the issuer of the Scotiabnk Gold American Express Card.

      Enjoy!

      GreedyRates Staff

  11. Hi there. With the Trip cancelation insurance, what qualifies? Is it only medical reasons? I have a need to change flight dates due to waiting on visa documents and have to change a departure date. Would I be refunded for these fees? Does it depend on all the airlines?

    • Hi Jenna,

      There are many non-medical covered causes for trip cancellation. However, after reviewing section 3 of the Amex Gold Trip Cancellation Insurance certificate, which details covered causes, it does not seem to cover waiting on Visa documents. Please review the section yourself and call to ensure the correct interpretation.

      GreedyRates Staff

  12. I’m thinking about getting this card. I’m just a little worried about locations that accept this card. Generally I’ll be shopping at a Sobeys, Co-op, Safeway or Metro, and using it for all of the main gas locations like Esso, Husky etc. However for the dining and entertainment, is there a list that contains with merchants that I can view?

    • Hi Jeremy,

      Scotia used to provide a sample list but doesn’t anymore. Besides, with thousands of restaurants across Canada, it would be hard to have a comprehensive list of restaurants.

      GreedyRates Staff

  13. Hi,

    If I am going on a backpacking trip to Europe for 1.5 months, should I apply for this card purely for insurance use?

    I have already purchased my flight there with a different credit card, will I still be able to use the insurance from this card?

    Thanks

    • Hi Kiersten,

      It depends on which insurance you are referring to. If you don’t have travel medical insurance the Scotiabank Gold American Express card can cover you (you’ll have to check fro exclusions), but only for 25 days. There are some cards that offer insurance for longer periods of time, but they come with an annual fee (Desjardins / National Bank).

      Because you did not book your flight with the Scotia Amex Gold card, it will not protect you for coverage like trip interruption, trip delay, etc…

      We need to know a little more to be helpful, hopefully the above is somewhat helpful.

      GreedyRates Staff

  14. Can you transfer the scotiabank american express points 1:1 to aeroplan?

    • Hi Katie,

      Unfortunately not. However, you can book any flight you want, anyway you want and you’ll be able to apply the cash value of your Scotia points to your flight cost. For example, let’s say you have 40,000 Scotia points, worth $400. You then book an Air Canada flight on Expedia for $350. You can use 35,000 Scotia points to pay for the trip – up to 12 months AFTER the charge appears on your credit card!

      Hope that helps!

      GreedyRates Staff

  15. Do you know if Scotiabank counts Aeroplan or Airmiles tax purchases as a travel expense? I have Aeroplan and Airmiles points and I am thinking if I purchase a flight I could pay the taxes of the flight with my Scotiabank card and then use the Scotiapoints to pay off the taxes?

    • Hi Rzana,

      Yes, when redeeming your Aeroplan miles, if you pay for the taxes and fees with your Scotia Amex Gold Card, it will count as a travel purchase. As such, you will be able to redeem whatever Scotia rewards you have against the purchase on your credit card statement. Great idea by the way!

      Hope that helps!

      GreedyRates Staff

      • Hello,

        Interesting side note, it looks like Aeroplan taxes and fees on a flight qualify as a travel purchase, but Airmiles taxes and fees on a flight do NOT qualify as a travel purchase. I wonder why that is?

        First I thought, well, Airmiles allows you to redeem for regular merchandise and maybe that is why Airmiles purchases are not coded as “travel” when it posts on the credit card but then I thought Aeroplan has the eStore which allows for the purchase of regular merchadise, so I was left wondering why Airmiles purchases are never coded as “travel” but Aeroplan purchases are (or at least sometimes are)?

        I wonder what the deal is here? Maybe the Aeroplan eStore purchases are actually not coded as “travel” but flight taxes and fees are? If that is the case though, then I would have thought that flight taxes and fees for an Airmiles redemption would qualify but merchandise Airmiles redemptions would not but it seems Airmiles redemptions (whether flight taxes/fees or not) do not seem to ever fall under the “travel” category.

        Thoughts?

        Thanks!

        • Hi Chad,

          Thanks for the feedback. Guessing Air Miles site is not coded under travel SIC merchant code, while Aeroplan is – simple as that. Aeroplan’s e-store, may have a different SIC merchant code from it’s travel redemption site.

          GreedyRates Staff

  16. Hello,

    Just as a heads up, this card is also currently offering FYF! Makes this card even more appealing!

    Keep up the great work…love the site!

    • Hi Chad,

      We were just waiting for the link to go live and Scotia’s landing page to reflect the offer! All updates to the new offer have been made. Great opportunity.

      Thanks for the kind words!

      GreedyRates Staff

  17. I deal with scotiabank for everything and have a STEP account, am employed and have good rating rating yet I was denied a scotiabank Gold Amex card and not sure why I do not meet their criteria???

    • Hi Sharon,

      Usually you can call Scotia and ask them to provide you with the reason for your decline – i.e. debt/income ratio, credit score, incomplete application, not enough income. Once you have that information you can take the next step.

      GreedyRates Staff

  18. td first class travel with no fee vs scotia amex. cant decide

    • Hi Rick,

      It all depends on where you spend. Both are good cards, Scotia Amex has a little more redemption flexibility. TD First Class offers great value if you travel a lot through Expedia, and are willing to redeem through Expedia (4.5% earn rate). If most of your spend is in gas, grocery and dining then Amex is the way to go. You just have to make sure your regular merchants accept Amex (for example Costco & Loblaws do not).

      But if you bank at TD, and have a premium chekcing account, the annual fee on the TDFC can be waived, which also brings great value.

      GreedyRates Staff

  19. I currently have TD first class travel card with all inclusive bank account, So I do not pay any annual fee. I spend over $35,000/year on this card but don’t get enough benefits from this. I am thinking of applying this credit card. I mostly shop at sobeys and restaurants.

    • Hi Rahul,

      If you’re spending $35K per year, chances are a significant portion of your spend is outside of Sobeys and restaurants, would we be right on that? If so, you’ll only be getting 1% on those purchases from your Scotiabank Gold Amex card. You might want to also consider a premium travel card that gives you 2% on all spend like the MBNA World Elite, or BMO World Elite MasterCard. Check out your approximate earn rate on our travel card comparison page.

      Regardless, we would say in your case the Scotia Amex Gold would come out ahead of the TD First Class Infinite, due to the 4% earn rate you’ll get at Sobeys and restaurants, versus 1.5% with the TD First Class Infinite card.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  20. Also worth noting that points from Scotia Amex cards can be used retroactively for up to 12 months. So when you’re ready to cancel the card, you can apply all your outstanding points to any travel purchase in the last year. With many other cards, it’s difficult to use up the points at the time of cancellation unless you have a travel booking to make at that time. Failing that, because the points are Scotia points, not Amex points, they can be transferred to another lower-fee Scotia card.

    • Great point Peter. One question though. If you’ve already paid down your balance from your trip 11 months ago (for example), what balance are your points being applied against?

      GreedyRates Staff

      • Even though you already paid out your travel expenses, it will deduct the amount from the balance from other purchases. For example, you had travel expenses for 500 in January and already paid in full. In May you have balance form other purchases for 1000, you can apply the points for 500, then you only need to pay 500 in May. It really gives you the flexcibility to manage your cash flow.

        • Hi Glenn,

          Great point. Just to reiterate, Scotia tallies all of your travel expenses, and allows you to redeem your points against expenses at any point in time within 12 months from the date the travel purchase was posted to your account. Very flexible.

          Thanks Glenn,

          GreedyRates Staff

  21. I currently have a Capital One Aspire Travel costing $120 per month with annual 10,000 bonus points and never expiring 2x point per $ on any purchases. Scotiobank called me today and offered me a pre-approved Gold American Express. Should I take it? AFAICS I’m better off with C1 because of the annual award and the 2x points on any purchases, or? Are there any other cards which can compete with the now-no-longer-offered-in-the-form-described-here C1 Aspire card?

    • Hi Simon,

      The legacy CapOne card has a strong value proposition no doubt. However, we would say that the optimal way to maximize rewards is through the welcome bonuses offered through new card sign-ups. For example, your current C1 card offers 2%, $100 bonus & $120 fee. If you get the MBNA Rewards World Elite card, you’ll get 2%, $100 & no fee in the first year. Get the TD Aeroplan Infinite card and you’ll get around 1.8%, 25,000 miles (~$320), & no fee in the 1st year. Scotia Gold often offers no fee in 1st year, $200 bonus and up to 4%.

      The largest share of value is in the welcome bonus and fee waivers. That’s where you should focus, in our opinion.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  22. Just got my scotia gold Amex yesterday. How long does it take for the 20 000 points to be added to the account?

    • Hi Jaimie,

      Per Scotia: “The bonus points will appear as an adjustment on your Scotiabank Gold American Express Card statement within two statement cycles after the third billing cycle has passed.”

      They wait 3 statements to ensure you meet the activation and $500 minimum spend threshold within the first 90 days. Then you should get the 20,000 points within two statements from that point. A total of 4-5 statement periods.

      Hope that helps,

      GreedyRates Staff

  23. Just like to point out that I think your numbers are a little skewed. I have this card, and I will be getting rid of this card once my anniversary date is up. The reason being is that the 4%, while seeming awesome had a hidden caveat. The places you shop at have to be registered as “grocery” in order to be covered under the 4%. This means Walmart and Costco, which have dramatically better quality of goods and prices usually are not covered as grocery, so you’ll be only getting 1% on these purchases. Considering that where I live, these stores are the better choice vs Sobeys, Save-on and Safeway, I’ve just lost a lot of points because of this rule.

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately, you’re correct, only standalone grocery and gas retail locations qualify. Costco is considered a discount wholesaler, not a grocer (although they don’t accept Amex anymore anyways) and most WalMarts is considered a general merchandise – these classifications are made by Amex on the merchant processing side of the business, not by Scotia.

      For Scotia to accept WalMart, they would then have to accept the likes of Sears and Hudson Bay, who are also considered general merchandise.

      To Scotia’s credit, they do make it pretty clear in their marketing collateral and disclosures. That said, if you’re a frequent WalMart shopper, this card will not provide the value you’re looking for, and there will be better alternatives. However, if you shop at Sobeys, Save-On, Safeway, Metro or any independent grocery store, you’ll get your 4%. Same with gas, if you fill up at a Canadian Tire location, you will not get credited. But fill up at any Petro, Shell, Esso, Husky location and you’re fine.

      GreedyRates Staff

  24. Hello
    I have a AMEX gold card do these points (20k) from Scotiabank link up into my AMEX gold account taking it from 25k to 45k in points? tx

    • Hi Mike,

      Unfortunately not! The points you earn from your Scotiabank Gold Amex card do not synch with your Amex Gold card points.

      Regards,

      GreedyRates Staff

      • But technically, you could transfer all existing Amex points to Aeroplan, then close or keep card – sign up for Scotiabank card.

        • Hi Jason,

          Absolutely you could – we’re all for accumulating as many bonus points without an annual fee as possible. However, I think Mike was looking for another means of accumulating Amex points. Unfortunately, The Scotia Gold Amex has no relationship with the Amex Gold Rewards Card or Amex points program.

          GreedyRates Staff

  25. This card would be great if they would bring back the higher sign up points and no first year fee. Do you think that is likely to happen soon?

    • We can’t confirm that it will or when it will. That said, if you’re looking for a book anywhere card, that allows you to apply your points to any travel expense on your credit card statement, the TD First Class Infinite card currently has a first year annual fee waiver and a 40,000 point sign-up bonus worth $200. Read the review and let us know what you think.

      Best,

      GreedyRates Staff

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